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©2010 Shanna Lea (formerly Shanna Ohmes)
Fireworks, camping out, going to the lake, and grilling are popular activities in our area for celebrating the 4th of July. In my previous life, (the life on processed foods) we usually had hot dogs, chips and soda and other snacks as well as the hamburgers or steaks cooked on the grill. As part of the Food Revolution we can declare our independence from the processed food routine and venture into grilling healthy and delicious recipes for vegetables and fruit.
Grilled vegetables? Grilled fruit? It’s the new trend in healthy grilling. And they taste so good. Be sure and hit your local farmer’s market for the freshest veggies and fruits in season for your grill. Here are some simple ideas and recipes for a healthy 4th of July.
- Grill grass-fed beef, pastured pork and free-range chicken
- Bison burgers or steaks
- Onion: Slice thick, drizzle with olive oil or melted butter, sea salt and black pepper. Other additions are garlic powder or butter and paprika. Place directly on the grill and cook until softened. Goes good with steak.
- Garlic: Whole garlic heads can be heated until soft. Mash in with potatoes or on top of steak, with hamburgers…
- Eggplant: Cut in ¼” slices. Drizzle both sides of slices with olive oil, place on paper towel. Sprinkle a bit of sea salt on the tops, cover with a paper towel and let set for 30 minutes to draw out the bitterness. Place on the grill and cook until tender.
- Cabbage: Cut 1 head of cabbage into 8 wedges, removing the core. Place the cabbage wedges on a piece of foil and season with garlic powder, sea salt and black pepper. Wrap the foil around the cabbage and place on grill for 30 to 40 minutes until tender. Another option is to add ¼ cup butter with the seasonings.
- Asparagus: Drizzle olive oil or butter over 1 pound of trimmed asparagus. Season with sea salt and black pepper and place on 2 previously soaked wooden skewers. Grill 2-3 minutes until tender.
- Corn on the Cob: Pull the husk layers down to the end of the cob, but not off. Remove as much silk as you can. Brush the cob with softened butter. Sprinkle with sea salt and black pepper or paprika. Bring the husk leaves back up around the cob and wrap the cob on a piece of foil. Cook on the grill 15 minutes or until tender. Other options are to add Cajun seasoning, or garlic powder.
- Potatoes: Cut in slices and brush both sides with olive oil, sea salt and black pepper. Place on hot grill and cook 15-20 minutes, turning occasionally, until tender.
- Summer Squash: Cut squash into ½” slices or strips. Heat ½ cup olive oil and 2 garlic cloves in a small pan, and cook over medium heat until garlic sizzles and becomes fragrant. Brush the squash with the garlic oil and season with sea salt and black pepper. Place in a grilling basket and cook over the grill 5-10 minutes per side. Brush with more garlic oil during cooking if needed, to prevent sticking.
Before placing fruit on the grill, make sure the grate is clean and oil it to prevent sticking.
- Pineapple: Place 1 fresh pineapple, (peeled, cored, and cut into 1” rings) in a large baggie. Add ¼ teaspoon honey, 3 tablespoons melted butter, 1 dash of hot pepper sauce and sea salt to taste. Marinate for 30 minutes to overnight. Place pineapple on the grill, oiling the grate first to prevent sticking. Cook until heated through and grill marks appear.
- Apples or Pears: Cut in half, remove seeds and core. Put the fruit in a bowl of water for 30 minutes with 2-3 teaspoons of lemon juice to prevent browning. You can add spices to the soaking water like a cinnamon stick. Adding spices like nutmeg, allspice, cloves or ginger to melted butter for brushing on the fruit also will enhance the flavor. Make sure the grill rack is clean and brush with melted butter. Then add the fruit and cook over medium heat until tender.
- Bananas: Split lengthwise, but leave the peels on to hold them together. Grill until heated through.
- Peaches, Nectarines, Plums and Mangoes: These are softer fruits and will cook faster than the apples or pears. Soak in water and cook like the apple and pear directions above.
- Plums: Cut in half and brush with melted butter. Place on the hot grill flesh side down 3-5 minutes until grill marks appear, then turn over and heat through other side.
For a festive event to impress your guests, marinate the fruit in your favorite alcohol with spices. A combination of brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg with rum is perfect for pineapple slices. A great topper for homemade vanilla ice cream too. But, be careful. When this fruit hits the grill, there will be a spectacular flare-up. Your own fireworks show!